Professor Emeritus, Judith Nagata, recently published a new article titled “The Changing Perceptions of Waqf and Other Religious Endowments: Social, Cultural and Symbolic Capital in Penang”. Nagata traces evolving meanings of waqf land in the Penang Muslim community. The article examines how waqfs were endowed for assorted religious purposes, covering mosques, schools, burial grounds, and as bases for Malay residential kampungs. She argues that urban waqf land was assailed by market forces, threatening its protected status in a competitive modernising economy. This led to waqf becoming actively manipulated and managed by government religious councils among its strategies for Malay development, a counterpoint to the Chinese business class. Finally, waqf has become central to Penang’s heritage project and UNESCO World Heritage site, sparking a reassertion of Malay rights through use of religious resources in modern planning and policy.
Judith Nagata (2016). “The Changing Perceptions of Waqf and Other Religious Endowments: Social, Cultural and Symbolic Capital in Penang” in Penang and its Networks of Knowledge, Peter Zabielskis & Yeoh Seng Guan (eds). Areca Books: Penang, Malaysia